Just like everyone else, I was born with a mom and a dad. My parents got divorced when I was six. I lived with my grandparents for awhile. Eventually, when I was 11, my mom married my step dad and we settled down. By then, my dad was pretty much cut out, so I didn't see him again for a long time. As a matter of fact, I didn't have any kind of relationship with him until the last few years. My mom and I may have lived in the same house, but we never really got along. She would go years without speaking to me for some reason or another.
When I was 17, I got this boyfriend. And he had these Aunts...
He asked me to come with him to help his Aunts paint a room for their new baby.
It was quite the event. I was covered in paint. There were all of these crazy people. It was fun.
A few weeks later, he took me there for a baby shower. Again... Crazy people.
That was in the fall of 1994. In the Spring of 1995, just before I graduated high school, my mom decided it would be better if I lived elsewhere. I had just turned 18. I moved in with the boyfriend and his mom. But it was the Aunts who helped the most. I didn't have anyone else and I trusted them. Chris and Sherri.
That summer I found out I had an allergy to latex. And it was Sherri I told. (Don't ask how I found out, but it was one interesting conversation.) Shortly after that, I found out I was pregnant with Carolynn. And it was Chris and Sherri we went to.
When Carolynn was 6 weeks old, we moved in to their house. We had no where else to go. They found me a job. They taught me all the important stuff about being a mom. Plus things like how to grocery shop and budget. How to cook and sew and garden. Basically, I am the adult I am now because of them.
Since we moved back to the high desert 5 years ago, they have been our closest family. Even though I long divorced their nephew, they still treated me like a daughter. They love David too. And Michelle. We spent holidays and summers together. It's nice knowing that you have family right there. Their baby, Taylor, who is now 18, is like a little brother. Or a big brother to Carolynn and Catherine.
So what we aren't really related? Sure, they are Carolynn and Catherine's great-aunts. But we are way closer than that.
They are my moms. My parents. The ones I have always gone too. The ones I would do anything for. Family.
Around the beginning of January, Chris was diagnosed with cancer. She has battled it once before. This time, there was nothing they could do.
On Sunday afternoon, I lost one of my moms.
She told me not to be sad.
But I am trying. I still have Sherri and Taylor.
It will get easier. I know it will.